SportsRussian athlete's financial woes intensify amid Ukraine conflict: Olympic champion reveals

Russian athlete's financial woes intensify amid Ukraine conflict: Olympic champion reveals

In the photo: Marija Łasickiene
In the photo: Marija Łasickiene
Images source: © Instagram
7:56 AM EST, February 13, 2024

Marija Lasitskene is among the most revered athletes in Russia. She earned a gold medal in the high jump competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. As one of the world's elite in her field, being unable to compete on international stages due to the war has been a setback.

Russian athletes across various disciplines have been sidelined after Vladimir Putin ordered an attack on Ukraine. The athletes are feeling the pinch as they are blocked from participating in major events, costing them significant earnings. The high jump competitor shared her own experiences regarding the situation.

"In a Russian Winter event, the first place gets 200 thousand rubles, 120 thousand for the second and 80 thousand for the third. However, the prize money abroad is much higher. For instance, winning the Diamond League gets you $10,000 and just showing up earns you around $5,000", states the Russian athlete.

The Russian Winter is one of Russia's most prestigious indoor athletics competitions. We converted the amounts mentioned by Lasitskene into Polish currency. The disparity is stark. In her homeland, an athlete can expect to earn approximately $2,202 for a first-place victory,$1,322 for coming second, and $881 for third. Conversely, winning the Diamond League earns a cool $10,025, and merely participating nets around $5,135.

"I can explain the life of a professional athlete in Russia today as thus: I've lost more than half of my income. I've been stripped of a contract with an equipment manufacturer, rewards from the Diamond League, and sponsorship bonuses. These are significant losses that no one intends to compensate me for. To offset the earnings of just one Diamond League victory, I would have to win every competition in Russia within a year. It's a tragic reality," adds the Olympic champion.

Although Russian athletes are experiencing financial setbacks, only a few have dared to publicly decry Vladimir Putin's actions. The war in Ukraine is now edging towards its second year, with no indication that a withdrawing of Russian forces will occur any time soon.

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